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Alexa Classic worth it in 2021?

Matthew W. Phillips

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I hope I’m not that off topic here, but I would like to ask your opinion on the pricing of the Alexa Classic. I’ve been thinking of getting one for quite some time, however, I can’t believe the prices I see on the brokerage sites and ebay.  It makes absolutely zero sense to spend 10000 euros on a Classic  even if it is coming directly from Arri. Other brokerage sites sell it between 5000 and 9000 (euro) it depends on accessories and model, licenses etc.   In my opinion all these prices are exaggerated. Agreed, the image that comes from this camera is great but the form factor/weight, battery life, the need for an external recorder, expensive support system, crazy expensive stabilization options, make it absolutely not worth it for a production company, and honestly I don’t think many people rent these units nowadays. So the professionals are out, since they are much more likely to make money with a Mini and probably have the funds to buy one. That leaves maybe small companies, owner-operators and of course enthusiasts, so none that could really justify getting the Classic in that price range. I have seen sensible offers, of course, a Classic with plenty of accessories (including other lens mounts) sold in Berlin for 3900 euros (I believe) after being listed for a long time on reduser at a higher price. I believe that price was closer to reality.   What do you think a Classic should cost these days?  

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2 minutes ago, Cristian Tascianu said:

What do you think a Classic should cost these days?  


I am not sure of what they are worth as far as a book value, but I wouldnt pay more than $3,500 for one. (I am in US so not exactly sure what that would correlate in Euros). Even at that price, if it had > 7500 hrs on the sensor, I probably wouldnt buy it regardless of the price. That is just me. I probably wont find that gem that is prices in that realm with that low of hours but then I guess I wont buy one.

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  • 4 months later...

Two big points to keep in mind:

1) the ARRI ALEXA Classic is huge! And is much much more battery hungry than anything else you've used before. Those two facts alone means you can't be a OMB with this. (except maybe the simplest of sit down IVs)

2) the new ARRI 4K S35 sensor is days away from being released, if successful this will make the secondhand prices of all other ARRI cameras tumble 

Bonus point: I don't expect you'd make money from own a Classic, there is no value in it really. The demand is all for ARRI Mini in general, or better (i.e. the LF). 

Edited by David Peterson
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  • 1 month later...

I own an Alexa Classic and here is my experience



- IQ is basically the same as all other Alexa cameras, except for the new Alexa35 and the obvious resolution differences. Which means it still is about as good as you are going to get.

- IMO there still is no other digital cinema camera out there that handles highlight roll off as well as the Alexa.

- Alexa color science still is the benchmark for skin tone etc

- As reliable as a hockey puck.

- Easy to operate

- Built like a tank

- Industry standard. Everyone knows how to operate the camera or process the footage.

- The extra weight can actually be a plus, when you throw it on your shoulder... Just make sure you eat your Wheaties.



- The full-size body is 20 lbs. Once you add the battery, lens, monitor, coffeemaker etc the rig gains weight rapidly. Which necessitates a heavy duty fluid head and tripod etc. This will slow you down compared to shooting with a Mini or other small camera, even with enough people to manhandle it into place. This is probably my biggest complaint, even having dealt with film cameras, which weighed about the same or more.

- Too heavy for a stabilizer

- It's really power hungry. You need a lot of batteries to get through the day.

- The Classic does not record RAW internally, so you need an external recorder. (The XT was the first with internal RAW)

- If it breaks the repair bill can approach that of a used car. This is a serious problem. I purchased this camera for a very specific reason and that was to shoot an independent film. Owning my own camera will allow me to shoot at my leisure and with great flexibility. Also in this case a rental exceeded the purchase cost, so it made sense. If the camera gets me through this project I will have gotten my moneys worth. Even if I sold it for 50% of the purchase price I would be ahead of the game. That said ANY pro level camera like a Venice or RED is not going to be cheap to service.

- It's a 4k world. Check with your production, if it's ok to shoot 2.8k


I love this camera and the image it produces. IMO the Alexa still produces the best picture out there and this was a cost effective way for me to get that.

If I had my choice I would like to have an Alexa Mini, just because of the size and weight. But they're still considerably more expensive, than a Classic . Personally I don't care about the sub 4k aspect. You aging actors will certainly be grateful...

If I won the lottery obviously I would take the Alexa 35...



Edited by Feli di Giorgio
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